Successful companies share one secret – their ability to retain their customers. Instead of looking at each transaction as a one and done experience, they focus instead on building lasting relationships with their clients. With just a few simple changes to your sales process management strategy, you can take advantage of the benefits of high customer retention rates, and the referrals that these relationships can generate.
1. Develop a sales process management routine for follow-ups with existing customers. These follow-ups are not to be used overtly for new sales. Rather, they should be centered around following up with the customer, making sure their needs are still being met and asking if they have any new needs that you could assist with. Set a regular schedule to check-in with your customers, typically between 3 and 6 months.
2. Remember important events in their lives. Everyone likes getting a hand-written birthday card, or a remembrance when certain life events happen. Keep your database up to date and make sure you either send out personalized cards, or better yet, call your customers and personally wish them a happy day on their birthdays, or call with congratulations or condolences when appropriate.
3. Offer incentives for them to stick around. Repeat customers should be rewarded, particularly if they are doing a great job referring their peers to you. Find special ways to say thank you like sending cards, gift cards, flowers or even buying them a meal when appropriate. The more personalized you can make the rewards, the better. Your customers want to feel valued and appreciated.
4. Schedule bi-annual or annual face to face meetings or lunches. Take your repeat customers out to lunch or simply meet with them in their offices and treat them as though they are the most important VIP’s you have. You cannot beat the benefits of meeting with someone in person.
5. Continue to problem solve for them. Your customers will feel remembered and appreciated if you call them occasionally to let them know you’ve been thinking about their needs and that you may have found a new solution that would work for them. Don’t go overboard with this, but if you truly have something new that can benefit your customers, let them be the first to know.
6. Refer your own peers to them. Referrals are a two way street. Successful sales process management techniques include sending business your customer’s way whenever you can. You’ll be surprised at how appreciative they are. The old adage, you scratch their back and they scratch yours, still applies in today’s business world.
7. Throw some free promotion their way. If they’ve got something exciting going on, let the world know through your social networking avenues. Your customers will not only be thankful for the assist, but they may also decide to reciprocate for you.
By far, the biggest key to high retention rates is that personal relationship with your customers. If this is not a part of your sales process management right now, it should be. Start integrating a few of these secrets into your process and see how your customers react. Chances are, they’ll be pleasantly surprised.